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Lecture 5

Conformity and Social Norms – Week 5.docx

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Simon Fraser University
PSYC 260
Lara Aknin

Conformity and Social Norms – Week 5 2/4/2013 12:33:00 PM Conformity, Social Norms & Authority When and Why We Conform? Conformity: changing our behaviour as a result of real or imagined influence of other people  People conform for many different reasons  Not necessarily good or bad to conform o Cultural implications… 1. Normative Social Influence: Conforming in order to be liked and accepted by others  Approval  Why? We seek companionship, to be liked/wanted  Desire to be in groups by people we like and care about near by  If we are more similar to those around us, we will be liked?  Seeking group membership, need to be included  Acceptance requires the following rules o Social Norms: Implicit or explicit rules of behaviours, values and beliefs for members o Failure to comply can lead to ridicule, punishment or exclusion  Normative social influence often leads to: o Public Compliance: doing what others do, copying behaviour and following social norms .. But the do not o Private Acceptance: genuine belief that the copied thoughts, beliefs or actions are correct Asch Line Study: Conformity for Social Approval  How far will we go to fit in with the group?  What are the boundaries of conformity?  Study; 1 participant, 7 confederates o Comparison line matching a standard line (Obvious task) o Group response influences the participant regardless of the obvious answer of the task o The participant failed to answer correctly and became influenced by the social pressures (gave incorrect answer that aligned to the rest of the group) o 76% conformed at least once  Began resisting but conformed as trials went on o People didn’t want to disagree with the group, risk embarrassment and isolation (even strangers) o People know their behaviour is incorrect but do so anyway  public compliance but not private acceptance o Anonymous written responses? … less conformity When will People Conform?  Whether people conform to social influence depends on the strength, immediacy and number of people in the group  Social Impact Theory o Strength: how important the group is to you  Do you care about and trust those people or are they complete strangers o Immediacy: proximity in time and space  How close the group is in both dimensions of time and space  Groups that are closer; more likely you are to conform  Harder to reject behaviour directly before you o Number of people: size of the group  Larger the group; more likely to conform  4-5 member group; more likely to conform th  15 member to a group may not hold much power  When the group is unanimous  To resist conformity; an ally helps! o Shares your perspective to disagree o Asch Study: Conformity dropped 32% to 6% when one ally gave the correct answer 2. Informational Social Influence: Follow other’s to gain information  We think they know how to behave in an ambiguous situation and will
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